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Chassis And Power Supply

How To: Build An HTPC (With Windows 7)

Chassis: nMediaPC HTPC 1000B

AMD’s chassis of choice came from nMediaPC—a vendor with whom we had never worked. The company’s HTPC 1000B isn’t like the loud, expensive touch screen-equipped units that Don recently rounded up. Rather, it’s a compact, svelte, brushed aluminum and steel enclosure priced under $100. For an inexpensive HTPC, we were more than happy to give it a look.

The case has room for micro-ATX motherboards (exactly what we were putting into it), one external 5.25” drive bay, four internal 3.5” drive bays, and four full-profile upgrade slots in the back. Front panel connectivity includes eSATA, high-def audio, a card reader, FireWire, and USB. All of the ports and connectors worked without issue, including eSATA.

We like that the HTPC 1000B has plenty of room around the motherboard to work—connecting headers, plugging in cards, and installing memory is very easy. There’s ample room for the power supply, too. And cable management isn’t an issue, either. We had lots of space around the processor cooler for airflow. Nothing on the front of the chassis shines so brightly as to be distracting, and because the case (and everything in it) was designed for the home theater, it is remarkably quiet.

We didn’t care for the drive mounting options, which put our hard disk under two tiers of steel sheeting—connectors completely out of reach. Also, the case’s lid, while crafted of steel, bends easily and was difficult to re-attach after just a couple of times handling it.

Power Supply: Corsair VX450

When you aren’t driving high-end hardware, picking the right power supply is all about maximizing efficiency by right-sizing the output, as Patrick showed in his story Core 2 Nukes Atom On The Desktop. AMD chose to include Corsair’s VX450 in our Maui machine, and we support that decision. The 450 W PSU is just enough for the hardware we’re recommending without commanding a lot of chassis space, generating much heat, or creating a lot of noise.

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